Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Five Fun Ways to Celebrate Book Week

With Book Week just ahead of us, Lyndon shares some timely tips on making the most of the literary event - celebrating and making connections with books, reading and readers!

Ah, here we go again! The 19th of August quickly approaches, and for many years now, right back into my childhood, Children’s Book Week has been one of my favourite weeks of the year. I still love spending it zooming from school to school to see what new stories inspire our young people. But there are lots of ways to celebrate Book Week and its theme this year of “Escape to Everywhere.” Here are a few you might not have thought of:
1. Read a Book
Surprise! Who would have thought this might make the list? For a few of our most esteemed and bibliophilic members the shortlist and notables might offer no real surprises, but for the rest of us it’s a wonderful opportunity to let someone else do all of the hard work of uncovering the greatest gems of the last year. And don’t rely on that winner! If you are anything like me you’ll just as likely find your personal top picks somewhere a little down the chain.
2. Give a Book
There is something special about giving away a book. Most of us are far more likely to read (and even enjoy) something that has been put into our hands by someone we love and admire than any list of accolades or author quotes. I keep multiple copies of my favourites for this very reason. One friend, upon receiving one of these sacred tomes, looked almost horrified. “It’s a big deal being given your favourite book,” she said. And she was right. But I still never miss an opportunity to share the stories I love the most.
3. Dress Up
What would Book Week be without dressing up as your favourite character? I can still remember some of the costumes that I wore in Primary School (who could forget the year of Billy the Punk?), and I feel closer to the books because of them. Adults, don’t miss your chance to engage in this tradition. You are never too old to feel like the hero of the story.
4. Get Cooking
When my teacher read us The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in Grade 3, I had no idea what Turkish Delight was. Like the White Witch herself, Mrs. Ashman brought a small tin into the classroom of thick, sugar-dusted pink Turkish Delight. It changed the story forever, and I have loved Turkish Delight ever since. This year Kylie Howarth’s Chip is one example of a story begging for a food accompaniment. How joyous would it be to read this clever picture book down by the beach, with a steaming parcel of hot chips all wrapped up in shiny white paper? Bliss!

5. Go on a Field Trip
The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books offers a glorious selection of subjects and ideas this year. From endangered animals to genetics and the life of William Bligh, they open up a world of new knowledge that can be explored further at home or out at the museum… even in the wild. You’ve read Gina M. Newton’s Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Park—why not go and see if you can find them?

Lyndon Riggall (@lyndonriggall) is a writer and pre-service teacher from Launceston. His next work, a play titled “U L G” about life, death, and education, will be performed with Mudlark Theatre as part of the Junction Arts Festival in September.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

ASLA XXV: Books, authors and Promotion

Conferences provide participants with varied and engaging experiences. Join Chris as she shares some of the literature related presentations that she experienced at the recent Australian School Library Association Conference.

I recently attended a two-day conference teacher librarian conference held at The Shore School on Sydney’s North Shore, with wonderful views over Sydney Harbour. The school was a wonderful venue, even during the school holidays busy with many other activities. These two days were packed with opportunities for everyone interested in all aspects of library services and management including books and reading, these being the main focus of this post. Even so, it will be difficult to do any of these real justice, all I can do is to make the attempt offering links to promote further reading.

The afternoon keynote on day 1 was given by Paul Macdonald, teacher and owner of the Children’s Bookshop Beecroft, focusing on ‘Challenges and Changes in text/literature’. His address was peppered with titles listed below to illustrate his points and he claims that today there is an increasingly politicised focus on social issues, such as refugees. There is also a strong trend for dysfunctional parents to be represented in fiction - these are books people tend to either love or hate...

In 2011 trends were all about the paranormal, today’s popular books are more about social networking, and books as bibliotherapy. The following titles elicit strong responses in readers and cover many topics that can be deemed controversial…

  • Gabrielle Williams My Life as a Hashtag
  • Cath Crowley Words in Deep Blue
  • Ross Watkins & Liz Anelli One Photo;
  • Patrick Ness Release
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the
  • Nevo Zisin Finding Nevo
  • John Larkin The Pause.
  • There is a great deal of format changing, both hyper and busy, competing to grab the attention of young readers, who are looking for different styles and genres in their reading. The Librarian can be a guide...

    • Amie Kaufman Illuminae, followed by Gemina with (Obsidio coming in 2018); 
    • Tristan Bancks Two Wolves and The Fall
    • Fiona Roberton Tale of Two Beasts
    • Zanni Louise & David Mackintosh Archie and the Bear
    • Bernardo Carvalho & Isabel Martins Don’t Cross the Line

    See Visual Editions to for a glimpse of changing publishing techniques,

    • Will Storr Selfie: how we became so self-obsessed and what it’s doing to us; 
    • Matt Stanton Funny kid for president
    • Tim Harris Exploding Endings 1- 4 (collections of short punchy stories that attract kids); 
    • Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology – stories by Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney and Jaclyn Moriarty among others.
    Notable presenters at the Conference included the following under the heading ‘Innovative Ways with Text/Literature’

    • ‘The Power of Influence’ by Tim Harris, whose blog extends his work in other creative directions, such as book trailers and pairing books with music, including Matt Stanton’s Funny Kid for President and Wendy Orr’s Dragon Song.
    • ‘Challenge to represent’ by Will Kostakis whose books include Loathing Lola, (out of print though LINC has a copy), The First Third (shortlisted in the Older Readers’ section in 2014) and an entry in Begin, End, Begin (see above). Will’s latest YA title Sidekicks was longlisted for the INKY awards and has been bought for an American edition by Barnes & Noble.
    • ‘Imagine: A world-renowned National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature’ - Dr Belle Alderman is a passionate leader for this body which started in 1974 as the Lu Rees Archive. Housed in the University of Canberra, it would like a home of its own, and is asking for our support to save our childhood stories.
      We will be hearing from Dr Belle in another blog post later this year.
    This was a fantastic conference with many inspiring speakers to enthuse me. I have come away with a very long list of 'must reads'.

    Chris Donnelly
    Teacher librarian and avid reader.

    Editor's note: One picture book that Chris has not mentioned here but shared with me is Mopoke by Philip Bunting. Brilliant!